Three children found to have thyroid cancer; seven have suspected malignancy, but none of these cases are attributed to the nuclear accident
Two more Fukushima children were confirmed to have thyroid cancer in a February 13 meeting of a review committee for Fukushima prefecture's health monitoring survey, which organized the thyroid gland screening examination conducted on Fukushima residents of 18 years or younger at the time of the accident. Adding to the one child who had been discovered with thyroid cancer last September, there are now three Fukushima children in total diagnosed to have thyroid cancer. The three children have already had their cancer removed through operation, and are leading normal everyday lives.
The two new incidents were discovered among the 38,114 children of 13 cities, towns and villages, where thyroid screening was conducted in 2011 prior to anywhere else in Fukushima. Of the 162 who were found to have nodules and pustules on their thyroids and were advised to take secondary tests, 76 actually had their thyroid tissue examined for cancer. Of the 76 children, 10, including the three with cancer, were diagnosed to have malignancy. Of these 10 children, three are male and seven are female. The average age is 15. The size of the thyroid tumor is said to be 15 millimeters. There were a total of 549 children who were advised to take secondary tests as a result of the thyroid gland screening for children in fiscal 2012, but the secondary tests are still ongoing, thus the results have not been released.
"In Chernobyl, it was after four to five years that cases of thyroid cancer began to increase. It is likely that we found cancer that was already there," said Prof. Shinichi Suzuki of Fukushima Medical University at a press conference held after the meeting, denying the relationship between the cases with the Fukushima Nuclear Disaster. Prof. Suzuki and the committee had explained previously that incidence of thyroid cancer is about two out of a hundred.
Dr. Shunichi Yamashita, vice president of Fukushima Medical University and chairman of the monitoring survey committee, was asked whether the committee's view denying the relationship between thyroid cancer and Fukushima Nuclear Disaster contradicts with his research results on Chernobyl which acknowledge the relationship between the cancer and iodine exposure. Dr. Yamashita responded by saying that since there are no such highly accurate epidemiological studies in the past, he cannot make any comparison. On March 21, 2011 right after the disaster in Fukushima, Dr. Yamashita said in a lecture given in Iwaki city that "there's no need to wear masks," "It's all right for children to play outside," and that "as long as (the radiation dose) remains below 100μSv/h, there's no need to worry at all."
The survey committee said the decision not to make public two important survey results: a table that shows the correlation between the level of radiation exposure and the screening results, and another that shows the screening results according to each city, town and village. The decision not to publish there results was made jointly by the medical university and Fukushima prefectural government.
Even though the survey results show a considerable rise in the incidence of thyroid cancer in Fukushima, the committee quickly denied the possibility of the nuclear disaster being the cause. The regional comparative data was also not provided by the medical university. Such an attitude by the committee has drawn criticism from specialists.
Extracted from Our Planet-TV, News blog and Kyodo News 13/02/2013
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